Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema

Stars under the stars

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Preparations for the Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema begin months before the summer movie series actually kicks off. Movies are carefully chosen and procured, equipment is inspected and repaired as needed, personnel is rounded up to staff the weekly event, press releases are sent and minutiae is attended to.

But no matter how well-prepped everything is, one factor is decidedly outside the control of every single person who has anything to do with the Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema: the weather. Always the wild card of the ever-popular cinema series, the weather is the make-or-break element (so to speak) that determines whether the show will go on.

Generally speaking, movie theaters pray for rain during the summer months, as bad weather drives people to explore indoor entertainment pursuits such as watching movies. The Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema, however, is exactly the opposite. Given that its shows take place outside, on Fairhaven’s Village Green, if the sky should happen to open up during one of the Saturday nights during the series run, all is shut down (a very rare occurrence) and put on hold until—weather willing—the following Saturday.

Given that, and knowing that the first couple of weeks of the series can be dicey with regard to relying on steady sunshine, longtime Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema organizer Doug Borneman was likely holding his breath last Saturday, waiting on the vagaries of our area’s notoriously fickle weather patterns. After all, the kickoff to the series was set to take place June 22 with a showing of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and when the sun went down on Friday night, it did so on a day that had been filled with intermittent rain showers. Those showers made an emphatic return on Sunday, but somehow, Borneman and his Outdoor Cinema escaped the effects of the weather on Saturday.

In fact, the weather was as perfect as only a Pacific Northwest summer night can be, and when Jasmine Greene—the evening’s musical entertainment—took the stage before the show, conditions could not have been better for a night of cinema under the stars.

Now in its 14th year, the al fresco film series—which was originally founded by the Pickford Film Center—has become a Southside staple, drawing hundreds of people to the family-friendly mix of movies and music that take place on the Village Green every week for most of the summer. The 30-foot screen is part of a mural painted years ago by beloved local artist Lanny Little, and Borneman’s Epic Events crew is responsible for swooping in, setting up the stage and projection equipment, wrangling concessions and performing whatever tasks are required to essentially build a temporary movie theater on a grassy stretch in the middle of a bunch of businesses. A little more than an hour before dusk, people start to arrive on the Village Green, singly, as couples and in groups comprising whole families, where they spread out blankets, unfold chairs and generally make themselves at home. Signaling that the proceedings are about to begin, expert emcee Joe Olmstead—who has been introducing the bands and the films for eight years now—takes the stage and tells the crowd what is in store for them.

As for what’s in store this year, while Ferris Bueller’s ship may have sailed, there’s plenty of Outdoor Cinema left for you and yours to take in. On Sat., June 29, the Village Green will witness the Rise of the Guardians with One Fine Fool providing the preshow entertainment. After that comes a couple of doses of Wes Anderson on July 6 (Moonrise Kingdom) and Aug. 10 (Fantastic Mr. Fox). In between is the pairing of Back to the Future with musical act the Devilly Brothers (July 13), Pitch Perfect with Strangely and Jeremiah (July 20), Brave with Amber Darland (July 27) and The Hunger Games with Rattletrap Ruckus (Aug. 3). The 2013 Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema series closes out with a classic musical—Singin’ in the Rain (Aug. 17)—and a cult classic—The Princess Bride.

Although the Outdoor Cinema has been rained out a time or two, Borneman knows Pacific Northwesterners are, generally speaking, a fairly waterproof bunch, and usually doesn’t let the weather get in the way of having a good time. Per usual, he’s optimistic about what this year’s series holds.

“It’s going to be another great season,” he says. “We’re fortunate to have so many talented local artists performing. The combination of live acts and outdoor movies makes the Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema one of the best summer attractions in the region.”

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